Mother of a Man-Child

My life with teenage boys

Mother of a Man-Child: Planes, Trains and Automobiles! June 17, 2011

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As I publish today, one of my men-children has been stuck in Adelaide for the past week, thanks to the qualms of nature and a certain volcano spewing ash across the globe.  What started out as a long weekend away for a teenage party has turned into a week-long stay – who would have thought!

Such is the irony, that having initially been stranded in Adelaide due to the closure of Melbourne airport, the ash cloud then travelled backwards across Australia to Adelaide airport, grounding my son and his friends for even more time.

For the first time ever (and never again) he flew Tiger Airways.  Yes, very cheap and god-awful flight times, but who cares when you’re a teenager?  Except when there’s been an Act of God that closes the airports, and suddenly the “busted-arse” airline has NO priority in the aviation skies, and so no planes can get off the ground.

So after expecting our darling man-child home last Monday (I admit I was looking forward to seeing him even after 3 days) it’s now Saturday (at best) before we will see him.   Naturally buses and trains have been explored, but as you would imagine they’ve been booked out, and I’m not that keen on teenagers doing that without adult supervision, so we’ve decided that the fall back is now Father of a Man-Child and another Dad driving to Adelaide and back to bring the boys home, if all goes pear-shaped again on Saturday.

Whilst I am missing him, naturally Man-Child II is delighting at missing school and spending time with a family who apparently like him so much they’d happily adopt him!  Regardless of how they behave at home (typically badly), all is forgiven when you learn from another parent (and I quote) “Man-Child II has been amazing…Dishes in sink, making bed, helping out…Tidying up after the party.”  Why is it that none of that happens here at home?

Naturally as time has gone on, I’ve shuddered to think that he didn’t take the bath towel I asked him to take, and only had two pairs of jocks, but I know that they’ll be well looked after, and just be treating it as a “camping” trip = minimal hygiene required.

Before Man-Child II had even got on the plane to Adelaide a week ago, I should have known there was trouble brewing.  I had the host mother on the phone just to confirm if it was true that I had given my permission for my son to have his eyebrow pierced (his mate was opting for the lesser ear-piercing).  I said absolutely NOT, but feel free to let him know that if he has his foreskin pierced then he can also have his eyebrow pierced!  With much hilarity we both agreed that given this option he probably would. 🙂

That didn’t stop Man-Child II texting me furiously to try to convince me why he should be allowed to have the piercing.  Needless to say I remained adamant it not happen, both verbally, and to ensure no “misunderstanding” via text  – I guess time will tell!

All said and done it’s been interesting to have Man-Child II away for the week.  The dynamics of the house have changed significantly – sister of a man-child has no one annoying her, and Man-Child I has no one to fight with – it’s been positively BORING!  And I admit, I’ve missed him as I do any of my children when they’re away for an extended period of time.  As they say, absence does make the heart grow fonder – but only if it doesn’t have an earring in it!!



Mother of a Man-Child: Testosterone Power Surge in Melbourne Suburb! June 10, 2011

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If it was possible to measure the output of testosterone in males, I swear my boys would be world record holders and probably blow up any machine that attempted to gauge it.  Such is the surge of testosterone in our house I can almost feel the electric-like current running through the place sometimes.

I grew up with three wonderful sisters – yes, one of four girls.  Naturally I always wanted brothers and envied my friends who had them in spades.  I therefore thought it was appropriate that my first-born were a) twins, since I am one myself and b) boys, since I had no brothers and was a complete tomboy as a child.  Some would say it served me right!

When my men-children were growing up, we always joked that our gorgeous boys were really just like dogs – always happy when outdoors and definitely better behaved after a good run in the park.  Growing boys just seem to need to burn off some of that energy and testosterone which courses through their veins during key phases in their life.   This is in stark contrast to raising girls, as we learned with the adorable sister of a man-child.  Females are just so different to males, but both equally enjoyable I must add.

Now the men-children are enduring yet another testosterone surge during adolescence, they don’t seem to be able to burn the hormones fast enough to keep a lid on it.  Even with sport virtually every second day, they seem to have plenty in reserve.   Which means that most nights they use it to “play-fight” amongst themselves.

Those of my readers with brothers will know what teenage boys play fighting looks like.  Others of you without brothers or men-children might be surprised to know how severe it can be.  “Play-fighting” by its very name sounds like light wrestling, some muted punches, a bit of nudging, and general pushing and shoving.  But no, that’s just the appetizer for my men-children!

Play fighting in our house involves two 15 year olds literally holding each other in death like grips, using every ounce of their strength in order to deliver harm to their opponent.  I kid you not I once found them entwined, one with legs wrapped around the other, and one in a choker hold, and them thumping each other on the ground to try to extract themselves from the other’s grip.  Neither would give up – no wonder they’re good at competitive sports!  I am still waiting for the hole in the wall, an elbow through the new TV, or a head split open on the corner of the coffee table – it just seems inevitable sadly.

The other night, having listened to the dulcet tones of play fighting from upstairs (yep, all we’ve done is move the noise and testosterone to a new location) I ventured up with the intention of putting an end to it.  I then made the stupid mistake of getting involved – bad idea, when I’m a) shorter, b) lighter and c) prone to excitement and extreme frustration.  All I ended up doing was screaming, getting madder, and earning a physical injury myself.  The lesson for me – I cannot physically win anymore – do not even attempt it (although hair pulling works as a last resort – for some reason they find this EXTREMELY painful)!

We had play-fighting again the following night, and they literally made their way downstairs as they fought.  So I tried a new tack – I threw them out of the house – the freezing winter air in Melbourne soon cooled them down, and took the heat out of their aggression.

Is this normal behaviour?  I think so, or at least I hope so.  It’s probably exacerbated by them being very different personalities.  I recall my girlfriend’s brothers once chasing each other around their kitchen table – I was sure they would kill each other, but I was probably only 10 years old so it made a big impression on me.

Will they be the best of mates one day?  I think so, or at least I hope so.  The testosterone will slow down its relentless pace and the aggression will give way to mate-ship and a lifelong bond between brothers.  Now that would make me happy. 🙂

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